We have once again invited some folks whose opinions we trust to share their favorite releases of 2011. Check out the artists on these list and the folks recommending them (most of whom are in bands of their own). You should be able to purchase each record through the attached link or visit your local independent record store and buy it there.
By Matt Jarrard
Best of 2011 (in order of awesomeness)
1. T.W. Walsh – Songs of Pain and Leisure
TW and former Pedro The Lion bandmate David Bazan have both always worn their mutual admiration and relationship challenges on their sleeves, this album is no different. His love of classic rock arrangement and sound textures are also evident here…fans of Jason Molina, Will Oldham, and Neil Young will quickly fall in love with this record.
2. Androcles and the Lion – As Far As Blindness Could See
This is my “dark horse” pick. These guys are based in Athens now, but met while studying music at Lagrange College. Musically, this EP moves seamlessly from droning guitar noise to an intimately picked acoustic. These songs affected me when I first heard them, and they continue to do so. Producer/Engineer/Athens-stalwart Drew Vandenberg probably had something to do with that as well.
3. My Morning Jacket – Circuital
Normally not a huge MMJ fan, always thought they were a little too “jammy” for my taste. But this record stuck with me. Holding On To Black Metal is my favorite song title of the year.
4. David Bazan – Strange Negotiations
Pretty direct statement to post-financial-collapse America, politicians, money managers, Bernie Madoff, and all the folks he pissed off by making “Curse Your Branches”.
5. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
This one took awhile to grow on me, mostly because I think Girls are a band that are playing to about 60% of their potential. At their best they’re incredible, but some of the tracks on this record strike me as mediocre. I fully expect the next album to rock my world.
6. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
Merrill is a musical maniac/genius. Everything about this album is fun.
8. The Antlers – Burst Apart
Bono loves them…so it must be the right thing to do.
9. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Very cool about the Grammy nod, hopefully he’ll turn out to be the Arcade Fire of the 2012 awards. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have BMX bikers whirling around him during his performance.
10. Sprits and the Melchizedek Children – We Are Here To Save YOU!
This will probably be on everyone’s “local best of” list. It’s one of the most cohesive and well thought out records I’ve heard ANYWHERE in awhile.
Reptar – Oblangle Fizz Y’all
Manthester Orchestra – Simple Math
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Wilco – The Whole Love
Bill Callahan – Apocalypse
Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
Efren – Rise On Up and Melt
Radiohead – King of Limbs